Their Eyes Were Watching God

Folklore in Their Eyes Were Watching God 12th Grade

Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in seven weeks while she was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, researching the country’s major voodoo gods and studying as an initiate under the tutelage of Haiti’s most well-known Voodoo hougans (priests) and mambos (priestesses). However, while many scholars have explored Hurston’s interest in and study of voodoo in her ethnographical texts, such as Mules and Men (1935) and Tell My Horse (1938), only a few have explored the relationship between voodoo and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Close analysis of the novel reveals that voodoo imagery and symbolism is integral to the development of the predominant themes of Hurston’s second novel.

In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Hurston explores the natures of black women and black men; the ways in which their natures are shaped by their individual and collective experiences within American and African American cultures; and how their experiences inform their self-knowledge, their connection with the world around them and their relationships with others. More specifically, Their Eyes Were Watching God is concerned with a young black woman’s quest for self-discovery beyond the false values imposed on her by a society that allows neither women...

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